The New York Times has an interesting story about the electronic medical records system that IBM had installed in the Akron Children’s Hospital in 1962.
The story links to a YouTube video with a statement from Roger Sherman, who was the hospital administrator at the time. Here is the video:
Ironically, the article goes on to say that the Akron Children’s Hospital did not maintain or update the original system. They are now in the process of building a new digital database of patient records.
So much information about children’s health from the early 1960s has now been lost that researchers who might have uncovered interesting trends have been denied a valuable resource.
While people fear the growth of third-party records systems the truth is that our governments and institutions are destroying and losing useful records at a prodigious rate. This data could be used for historical research without violating people’s privacy.